The evening at Le Ritz in Montreal, QC, opened with a fat performance by Montreal’s Our Souls Evolve. Their vocalist, Raphael Osorio, is a short, skinny dude who would probably blow over in the wind, but has a vocal roar that could blow someone over. Thick, solid, and heavy; O.S.E’s very ironic performance was a mean introduction for touring band, Native Construct.
Construct kicked off with “Mute,” but the volume levels were definitely high (clever or a cliché?… Definitely a cliché). There were about fifteen members in the audience just standing around and nodding their heads to the music. There’s always that one guy, however, with the longest hair throwing his split ends around, and he was there that night. With their Malaysian guitar player, Kee Poh Hock, stranded back home in Boston (damn visas. They shoulda gotten a MasterCard! Ah, ha ha.) Construct rolled with the punches and as vocalist Robert Edens joked. “Replaced him with a computer.”
I’d say most of the energy came from Edens and their drummer, whom apparently remains nameless. Guitarist, Myles Yang, and bass player, Max Harchik mostly just stood there wearing their instruments as high as bow ties. They weren’t really killing it with the stage presence other than doing the typical head nod/back step—like how I dance at nightclubs. The importance of solid stage presence seems to be often unacknowledged. If the volume levels are poorly equalized, and you can’t hear shit coming from the amps or speakers, and it was difficult to hear the vocals during that performance, then at least releasing sexy moves will give the audience something to look at. Madhatter Edens understood this by grooving with his very emotional and expressive creeping steps, crazy eyes, and puppet master-esque hand gestures—moves that were all very suitable for Native Construct’s Alice In Wonderland, psychedelic jazz, kind of metal.
Next on the rocket docket was AURAS. These Waterloo, Ontario boys were tight and mean. The vicious growls coming out of vocalist Eric Almeida were riveting. He would invite the audience members to come closer, but my reluctance to get any closer stemmed from my fear of being blown away or inhaled by his vicious roars (not really though since a human can’t inhale another human, guys. C’mon). That, or I didn’t want to get soaked by the spit pouring out of his mouth. Throughout their set, Almeida would give a death look like, “I’ll rip off your asshole if you don’t participate!” Drummer Nathan Bulla was on fire. There was so much emotion in his face. The strained look on his mug was a great indication of what he looks like when he’s bustin’ a nut.
The growls were heavy and the drum beats were dope. However, those damn stiff guitarists again! FUCKIN’ MOVE! It doesn’t matter how good of a guitar player you are, if you can’t hear the face-melting licks coming out of the amps because the equalization is shit (which it was) then you just look like two guys holding a guitar while nodding your head UP and down and UP and down. It’s boring. Also, jumping scissor kicks are just about one of the most badass things you can do as a guitar player, so do ‘em! AURAS got a pretty good response from the small bunch of audience members. The reaction to them playing their older stuff such as “Panacea” was solid, and the two guys at the front of the stage singing into the microphone seemed to be loving every second of it all. AURAS finished their set, said, “Thank you, Montreal,” and everyone cheered. Yay.
And then they came on. Mandroid Echostar. HOLY SHIT! From the first bar of “Hypnos,” there was just an explosion of energy. They played together like a fuckin’ team of dick kickin’ badasses. When they weren’t charming the audience members with their good humour and lovable personalities between songs, they were five dudes standing in a straight line just head bangin’ some air pussy. The guitar players were wild, Matt HK on drums was as solid as my boner was, and vocalist Michael Ciccia was like a fuckin’ lightning bolt striking the same spot over and over again. Needless to say, these guys blew me away (eat an apple a day, hey hey hey). I went to physio the day of the performance for neck pain and I felt better after my appointment until Mandroid ruined that for me. With Ciccia and bass player Adam Richards dancing around, shakin’ their dingdongs, I couldn’t hold off from jumping around myself. It was like too much energy for a stage that size, but they made it happen without smashing each other’s faces with their headstocks. These guys loved what they were doing and they looked and sounded great doing it. Here’s my sign off: go see Mandroid Echostar.
Written by Keenan Kerr
Photography by Hugues Bouchard
*edited by Danielle Kenedy